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Risotto Recipe that Rules: Coconut Risotto with Black Beans & Mango

Posted Sep 02 2010 5:21am

Risotto has a reputation for being difficult. It’s the dish that gets people kicked off cooking shows.

But it’s worth it. And it’s not really so hard. Risotto is the only recipe that requires a glass of wine while cooking. It’s mandatory- no excuses.


The reason risotto gets a bad rap is that it needs almost constant stirring to achieve that thick creaminess that makes you swear there’s the heaviest of heavy creams in there. As soon as you take that first bite, you’ll know every turn around the pan was worth it.

You can put almost anything in risotto- spring vegetables, mushrooms, butternut squash- but my all time favorite is my black bean & mango risotto recipe.

  mango risotto

So go get that bottle of wine and let’s get started on that risotto recipe.


Start by sautéing a cup of shredded carrots and a chopped red bell pepper for just a few minutes. While they’re cooking, dice half an onion and try not to cry too hard. Mix together one can of coconut milk and a cup of vegetable broth, then gently heat them. I use a teapot so it’s easy to pour later.

shredded carrots

Set the carrots and pepper aside and toss in the onion with a tablespoon or so of coconut oil. The smell of the coconut oil melting is enough to momentarily send you to the tropics. But come back- you have cooking to do; risotto to make!

measure rice

As the onion starts to turn translucent, throw in a cup and a half of Arborio rice. Or perhaps slightly less than a cup and a half after you spill the rice all over the kitchen floor. I promise I haven’t even poured the wine yet.

spilled rice

That’s what happens when you try to pour a cup and a half of rice into a single cup measure for the sake of photography.

[And yes, I contemplated sweeping the rice up and using it anyway, but then I realized how long it’d been since I mopped the floor. The rice would have to be sacrificed.]

Toast the rice in the pan for a bit, until it just slightly browns or you can start smelling the grain cooking.

Now it’s time for the wine. Pour half a cup of wine into the rice, and pour more than a half a cup of wine into a glass. Don’t skip the second half of this step- you’ll thank me later.

glass of wine

Once the wine has absorbed into the rice, pour about a half to a cup of the heated coconut milk- veggie broth combo into the pan. Now’s when you start stirring. That’s what causes the starches to come out of hiding and turn into that delicious creaminess you’re looking for in a risotto.

stir risotto

As the rice absorbs the liquid, slowly add more, about a half to a cup at a time.

Add liquid. Stir. Stir. Stir. Repeat. Until you’re done.

If you think you’re running out of liquid but the rice hasn’t softened enough, add some water to the mix. I end up using a different amount of liquid every time.

Don’t rush the stirring & liquid adding. It won’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried. This is why you have the wine. Stir & enjoy. You’ll know you’ve mastered the art of risotto when you’re able to stir and drink your wine at the same time, with neglecting either of the two.

When all the liquid’s added, toss the peppers & carrots back into the mix, along with a can of black beans and slew of spices & lime juice. Slice a mango and warm the slices over low heat.

coconut risotto

Serve and top with mango. Top with an extra squirt of lime juice, coconut flakes, and basil.

black bean risotto

You can thank me later.


1 1/2 c Arborio rice

1/2 c dry white wine

1 c vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk

1 T coconut oil

1/2 onion

1 red bell pepper

1 c shredded carrot

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 mango

1/2 T onion powder

1/2 T garlic powder

1/2 T basil

red pepper flakes to taste

1 T lime juice (or to taste)

coconut flakes


Your turn. Go get stirring.

Feel free to share your favorite risotto recipe.

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